Sudden Angst: Part 2

October 22, 2008 |  Tagged |

Glazing distance was brief as I engaged my intelligence to cope with the situation. Pumped with anxiety, I fidgeted in search of my phone, it had slipped out of my shorts pocket when I plunged to the sweltering asphalt, pebbled-skipped and came to rest ten feet from where I lay. A car-wreck-bystander, who exhibited an immeasurable degree of desperation to help, sensed my urgency and was thrilled to have a function! He sharply walked over to the freshly scratched-up phone and brought it to my side. 911 … I wanted to ensure I hadn’t sustained a MAJOR injury and resisted acting stupidly by not calling medical-personnel.

Calling my wife was out of the question, she was two weeks out of chemotherapy and was getting over the massive strain and havoc it had wreaked on her body. Beginning in three weeks time, she would be undergoing six weeks of radiation, i.e. every day … for six weeks. I’ve sat by her side for the duration of her chemo infusions and I had full intention of keeping her company throughout radiation treatment. Suddenly, images of interruptions to the plan, the wrench-in-the-works were scrambling, squirreling, break-dancing around my brain. The immediate realization that it was my right foot sent me into a tailspin. Not only would it inhibit my ability to drive, it shall render me useless on a grand scale, around the house, the dog, the kitchen, the mail, the trash, the cup-of-coffee, the grocery store, the pharmacy … Keeping her stress free was of the utmost importance, so, I refrained from calling her.

The ambulance arrived quietly, backed into position and stopped. From the rear of the van alighted two people dressed in medical-blue with an array of sewn on patches, one holding a bottle of peroxide, the other a clipboard. Spout aimed at my foot, knee and elbow, the peroxide flowed, dissolving, gurgling, hissing as it painted a volcanic pink-hue over the long shallow scrapes. Meanwhile, the man with clipboard excitedly jumped in with an onslaught of questions and began writing. The medic with peroxide was now applying clean gauze and began studiously wrapping my wounds, I thanked her for her good-work, and was happy for the band-aids, but … what about my swollen ankle, is it sprained, twisted, broken or WHAT? Sensing my genuine concern, she helped me up off the ground, at this point even Clipboard Man caved in to my needs, he motioned forward to help, but too late. I was already up-standing before he had time to place his pen neatly into his crisp, clean, starched shirt pocket. Upright, balanced on two feet, albeit my right foot aimed weirdly lame to the side, I was asked to make a couple of movements, this clearly answered their uncertainties … “No it’s not broken, seems like you can stand okay and bear your weight, probably a sprain”, he said, before reaching back into his pocket for that shiny pen! … Strangely enough, I was standing. Content, I decided not to go to the ER, I still had those errands to finish, and if it’s only a sprain I can handle that with a little ice when I get home. My objective for calling the paramedics was to rule out a nasty trauma. With my objective having been met, I collected my thoughts, dusted myself off and with my best rendition of Richard the Third, I crab-walked, forsaken and joyless to the driver-side door of my car.

Foreign pain, immediately spun furious over the nerve-way on the top-side of my foot. Hmmm … that’s not good, I thought as I timidly steered my way through rush hour. I had a trolley full of unwanted hardware, 30 days looming, stabbing determination gnawing away in my head, I can’t take the risk, I have to return them today, no matter what. I pulled into the hardware store lot, blue Disabled Parking Only was making faces at me, taunting me, teasing me, tempting me with forbidden desire. Daring me! It crossed my mind if indeed, I would eventually need a free-pass to park. Reassured, I told myself, a sprain is a sprain is a sprain, buck up, return the damn goods and get on with it. Richard The Third was working over-time this evening, inelegantly skidding awkward across the lot, a rusty-chrome cart with one jammed wheel to boot. Dragging, scraping and gasping for breath I reached the counter, the store clerk looked at me and quickly registered  I was insane. His hand-held scanner danced around the goods and produced a rather quick refund. “Whew … Wow …boy, now what?” Okay, the list … “Arrh, no, no, I can’t do that, no, no, not now, but, she said she would need it by the weekend.” Well, today is Thursday, I could always rush out tomorrow and get it. Lots of ice, lots of ice, keep it high off the ground, above your heart, no worries, elevate, ice … yep, she’ll be right.

Alright, I’m heading home, my phone rang, my wife, my ordeal suspended! I blurted it out but played it down, she agreed it was probably nothing more than a sprain. Words of salve coated my anxiety and upon my return, the promise of a hot tea. The phone snapped shut as the car in front swerved to avoid a pot hole, throwing me off kilter. My foot, now screaming, pumping pressure, electric haphazard horror, ricocheting, shooting unbridled spasms of pain amok up my shin-bone. My face agape, onlookers would think I was being drawn and quartered as I drove. Glancing the rear view, I gingerly eased my foot back on the gas, all the while letting out huge gasps of airy sighs. Three cars behind me, birds-a-plenty, shot me in unison as they passed. I held my focus steadfast ahead, made out I was totally unaware of any disturbance. The honking-echo was swept up and replaced with a windy silence. Slowly, I regained my composure, deep breaths, nestled in the comfort of soft leather, I darted off towards the nearest uncrowded detour.

A sprain …? I kept asking myself, A sprain …?

I maneuvered the car one last time down the narrow drive, A sprain, he said, “Probably, A Sprain”

But, what was that noise, the sound, the pop, the click, that crack? Why did I fall? … Instantly, slumped without control, immobilized like a stunned mullet. I’ve had sprains before, playing football, running cross-country, and of course the one time I was imitating chef’s by wearing those ridiculous clogs.

A sprain, he said, A sprain !

To be continued:


4 Comments so far

  1. Smish on October 23, 2008 7:33 am

    This is a great story. I never thought I would say that about an ATR story (which I am assuming because you haven’t got that far in the description). Are you published or one of those closet authors that is afraid to be found? I know a few and I have reviewed books for publication for a publishing company so I have read A LOT. You are really fun to read. You combine just the right amount of description with straight information. Can’t wait for the next one.

  2. annieh on October 23, 2008 9:57 am

    My oh my you poor thing, even though I thoroughly enjoyed your second post you certainly seem to continue to have a fantastic sense of humour despite all your problems, I sincerely hope your wife is OK.

    Shouldn’t say it really but cannot wait for next installment.


  3. normofthenorth on January 25, 2010 12:01 am

    I tore my first AT 8 yrs ago, the right-hand one. I drove home in my standard-shift car (still in my volleyball shoe), by pressing gas and brake with my right heel. It seems like a natural variant of the classic “gimp walk” that we’ve probably all “invented” when first faced with a flight of stairs going up, post-ATR.

    This time, I tore the left one, and — due to my wife’s irrational insistences(!) — the car we bought last summer is an automatic, so driving’s been a piece of cake through the whole 6-ish weeks.

    In my case, 8 yrs ago, it wasn’t a physio who pooh-poohed my ATR, but me. I hobbled home and limped into a shower and dinner with my wife, who didn’t buy the “sprain” story for a minute. “You better see somebody about that, how about the Sports Medicine clinic?”

    Interestingly, the first doc there sent me for UltraSound before scheduling surgery (which was the Standard of Care 8 years ago, UNlike now!), but the surgeon I saw after the US said he would have skipped it. He would have just scheduled the surgery once he heard how I was climbing up stairs!

  4. rutha on January 25, 2010 12:38 am

    A most entertaining execution of your story…refreshing, and yes, I too look forward to the next chapter! Thanks!!!

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